After Donald Trump announced late Monday night in a tweet that he plans to double down on racism and xenophobia by temporarily banning immigration into the United States, Fox News blonde and Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt is all of a sudden very worried about immigrants—possibly as worried as she is about how she and her friends will get their hair and nails done during the covid-19 pandemic. Namely, she’s very concerned about how she’ll continue to be able to exploit immigrant labor under Trump’s vague, as of yet unreleased executive order.
Earhardt, it turns out, depends upon the labor of an immigrant domestic worker to care for her family—specifically, an au pair. “Many families here, including mine, we have au pairs. And we rely on them. I go to work at 3 o’clock in the morning, so I need her there, and I need her in my house so that she can help me with my daughter,” Earhardt said on Fox & Friends. She continued: “So, many families rely on childcare from other countries. These au pairs come here on work visas, they have to go back to their country to get the visas renewed, and we’ve been talking in my house about how that’s going to happen.”
It comes as no surprise that Earhardt relies on an au pair to take care of her family. The au pair program, which is operated by the State Department and pitched as a sort of cultural exchange program, is rife with abuse, with many families merely seeing au pairs merely as cheap and temporary labor. As the domestic worker advocate Elizabeth Mauldin put it to WBUR in 2018, “In the words of au pairs, this program can be overwhelmingly abusive,” and “wage theft, coercion, sexual harassment, retaliation, misrepresentation, and human trafficking” are common. Mauldin added, “Forget about having a cultural exchange. The defining characteristic of the program for au pairs is work.”
Earhardt, for her part, sure seems to be more concerned with how her life will be affected rather than that of her au pair. Maybe she’ll have to adjust her working hours to account for childcare. Perhaps she’ll have to find a nanny and pay them higher wages–a true tragedy! Has Trump finally found a way to piss off his base of well-to-do white women, by depriving them of their badly paid domestic workers? Probably not. Earhardt is confident that Donald Trump will address her concerns. “So these are all things, these are questions that we have, that hopefully the president will roll out a plan and we’ll all be informed on how that’s going to affect all of our lives,” she said.
Given how Trump takes his policy cues from Fox News, I’m assuming Earhardt’s fretting on Tuesday morning was a plea from her mouth straight to the president’s ears.